Room 39| Chapter 18
Dede had never seen Chika in this mode. She seemed to have a sharpened vision and absolute clarity. She picks up all the materials she needed and tells her father to leave the house with the family until she tells them that she is out of the building and back home. And if she gets trapped inside, they should remain in his house until she gets out. Dede quickly runs upstairs to wake Ebuka and the wife up. He also gets his guns tucked into the sheath around his waist, and they exit the house immediately in a bulletproof vehicle belonging to Ikem.
Chika was ready to leave. She slowly bows down to pray, asking God for direction and protection as she goes there. When she was done, she picked up a photo of Ikem and Ebuka, set all the security cameras to record, locked her secure room downstairs and left the house in her bulletproof car. It was now 3.30 am and she had 30min to get into that Room and exit in one hour. But even if it takes longer, she was prepared for it this time. Whatever it takes.
Chika arrived at the heavily guarded Antiterrorism Unit building at around 4 am. She had driven with her lights off a few kilometres to the building and parked her vehicle a few metres away too. She got out of her car, took all the things she needed and slowly walked towards the building.
From a distance, she had observed that entrance from the main door wouldn’t be possible because there were five guards at various corners of the main door. These were the ones she could see. Inside the building, there were certainly several others. So, she opted to enter directly from one of the offices on the first floor. She slowly walks to the back of the building where there were only two guards.
After neutralising them, she climbs the wall and breaks the glass window of the office after carving a circle on it. She was now in. But the main problem is locating Room 39. She quickly takes out her map and torchlight to understand where she was and how to get to Room 39. As she moves to Room 39, she’d meet with five more armed guards who she’d neutralise before finding her way into Room 39.
Chika knew the code to the entrance door because Chukwuma had told her during the dinner they had at his place. She was also aware of how to combine the codes for the exit. Chukwuma hinted at that during his stories but didn’t give her a definite answer on how the combinations go. She just has a list of the countries Chukwuma mentioned and what he did there. So, she attempted to resolve the puzzle that night before leaving for the building. That way she will be able to go in and out of the building. But when she entered Room 39 and the door locked, getting the stolen items from CODE RED, and exiting the Room proved way more difficult than she had ever imagined. This begins the phase of escape from Room 39.
The three days that the Collingahs gave to Mbe and his cohorts to provide the stolen items have passed, and the drugs were nowhere to be found. Mbe had committed a blunder and his wife, and the families of his colleagues will likely pay for it.
Mbe knew what would happen that night if he didn’t get back to the Collingahs. So, he quickly contacted the Collingahs to narrate what happened at the building and promised to get the items as soon as possible. He pleaded with them to spare his wife and colleagues’ families.
Chukwuma hadn’t revealed the secret code into Room 39 before his death, so the investigators couldn’t get into the place to determine if the killer was in there and probably unravel the reason why Chukwuma’s body was just at the entrance into the Room. So, the DNI and FBI Directors decided to search for ways to gain access into the Room without destroying the entire building. It was meant to be done very secretly without the knowledge of neither the public nor the employees of the two agencies.
When Mbe and his cohorts learnt of the move, they decided to play an important role in the choice of who gets in there. In their view, if they can know the person or even choose the person, they could make the person get the stolen items for them. So, they all met and decided to visit the University on Pirro’s Lane to search for a mathematician or an engineering professor with experience in building or breaking secret codes of banks, safe houses, security agencies – a professional hacker basically. They didn’t want to get a street hacker for fear that the agency wouldn’t accept such a person because the security code and other secrets of the agency were at stake. So, a university staff with a verifiable history is preferable.
The next day Mbe and a colleague went to the university to search for Professor Ejike. They’ve made enquiries on the University archives and asked around to determine who to choose. Ejike stood out from the rest of the people because he’s done multiple research projects in the field of security and at one point was called by the government to participate on an inter-ministerial committee for restructuring in the University degree programs. So, he will be doing a very rewarding national service both financially and career-wise.
Albert Ejike is a well-esteemed mathematician at Pirro’s university. Loved by all, he is a young man who has risen through the ranks in the academic staff by hard work and sound character. With over one hundred publications before age 33, Ejike was made an assistant professor to the admiration of his students and the envy of his fellow researchers. He was nicknamed Albert Einstein, and no one had any doubts that he was on his way for a nobel prize sometime in his lifetime – the question was just when not if.
Ejike was in the lecture hall when Mbe arrived at the university in search of him. His office staff asked them to wait until Ejike was done for them to speak with him. Instead of sitting, they preferred looking around the university, deciding to return once Ejike was done.
When his lecture was over, Ejike returned to his office to learn from his secretary that two visitors were waiting to see him from the government. At first, he didn’t quite understand the purpose of the visit. When he was called to serve in the committee for university restructuring, he only reserved an email and a call; there was no need for an official visit to his office to communicate news to him. And there was no prior call or contact before this physical meeting. He didn’t know what to expect but was obliged to see them.
Once Ejike got inside his office, he asked his secretary to invite his visitors into his office. Seated behind his semilunar table with a burgundy leather fitting, Ejike welcomed his government visitors to his office with a handshake.
‘Good afternoon, Sirs.’
‘Good afternoon, Mr Ejike.’
Ejike was a bit surprised by the way they called his name as someone they had known for several years.
‘Please you may have your seats. Ejike said, pointing at the two armchairs before his table. ‘Would you mind a cup of coffee or water?’ he proceeded.
‘No, not at all. We’re fine.’ They chorused.
‘Ok, I understand. If at some point you need something, kindly let me know and I’ll get that for you.’
Ejike couldn’t help but notice that Mbe kept looking around since he entered his office. He was looking at the walls, photos, curtains, awards, door, windows, just everything. This he did throughout the entire discussion barely making 5-second eye contact with Ejike. This troubled Ejike more because he couldn’t tell if he was under some investigation, but he preferred to allow them to act the way that seemed right to them. One thing was fixed on his mind, whatever is the request, the answer would be a capital NO. He had an intuition from the time that they walked into his office that he wouldn’t want to work with nor for this type of people, no matter who sent them, including the President.
‘Alright Mr Ejike, we are here on an official assignment by the FBI and DNI. It’s a top-secret assignment and no one should ever know that we were ever here. You mustn’t tell anyone about our meeting.’
‘You must have read in the newspapers about what happened in the new Antiterrorism Unit building. We are here because we need your assistance to get into a particular part of that building and to extract some information there. All you must do is get in there and extract the items we will tell you, get out and give them to us and we’re done. For this official job, you’ll receive recompense from the government agencies involved and some recognition as well.’ Mbe’s colleague said, forcing a smile.
All the while they spoke, Ejike simply nodded and pondered little over what they were saying. He had already decided to refuse their offer and was waiting for them to get done with their stories before asking them to leave politely.
‘Alright, Sir.’ Ejike said smiling. ‘I’d love to think about it and get back to you soon. I understand it’s delicate and urgent, that’s why you came in person to me. But I also have so many engagements this period. So, I’d like to take a few days to see if I can reorganise some of these schedules and then I’ll get back to you. I’ll then tell you if I’ll be able to embark on this project or not.’
‘Ok. hmmm… you won’t have a few days because it’s quite urgent. We will be executing your response by tomorrow noon if you wouldn’t mind. It’s quite urgent and the FB wants to tidy up this whole investigation and issues around it before the week runs out. So, please give us by tomorrow morning when you intend to come to do this official assignment. We’ll be waiting.’ Mbe said, beaming a false smile.
‘Tomorrow is too soon for me. I can’t give you a call tomorrow.’
‘Don’t worry, you’ll give us a call, or we’ll call you if that makes you feel better.’ Mbe tapped Ejike’s table three times as they stood to leave.
‘Who’s the lady on the frame behind you?’ Mbe questions.
‘That shouldn’t be any of your business.’ Ejike responded.
‘I know. It’s just that I was wondering what a lady’s photo is doing in your office seeing you aren’t married, and your parents and siblings don’t live in the city.’ Mbe added.
‘Please, I thought you came on an official assignment. What has my family got to do with the assignment?’ Ejike quizzed.
‘It’s ok. It’s just for the sake of curiosity, so we know who our man that is getting into the building is. A sort of background check.’ Mbe said, winking at his colleague.
‘Alright, I’ll be leaving now because I have another lecture to attend. So, you need to leave as well.’ Ejike said.
‘OK. we’ll talk tomorrow then.’
After his lecture that day, Ejike went to his laboratory to carry out some experiments. He stayed back at the university until 8 pm when he went home. Unknown to him, these corrupt FBI agents came back to the university compound later in the day to monitor him. So, when Ejike left, they also followed him closely in their vehicle to know his habitation.
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I CAN’T WAIT!!! This is so exciting!
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